With drive and desire to make a continuous impact in construction, Katy Dowding is a CEO that prides herself on inclusive leadership and a sustainable focus. Assuming the role of President and CEO of Skanska UK in May 2023, she is already affecting plenty of positive moves within the company.
A well-known figure in the UK construction industry, and with more than 30 years working in construction and operations, Dowding is an expert in her field as she continues to provide valuable insights into the best ways to develop construction with new net zero policies in mind.
A change agent in the construction industry
With Skanska UK, Dowding has held a wide range of commercial, operational and strategic leadership roles over the 20 years she has worked for the company, including Managing Director of Skanska UK facilities management operation.
She said in an interview with Skanska: “One of the things that excites me the most is understanding our customers’ needs and delivering them. I think it’s really important to get close to customers – to really understand them – so you can deliver for them.”
In 2003, Dowding joined Skanska UK with her first major projects being at the Ministry of Defence to completely refurbish its main Grade II listed office building in London, MOD Whitehall.
She then joined the redevelopment project of both Barts and The Royal London Hospitals, in a key commercial role. She continued to work her way up different management roles, including Operations Director and then Managing Director.
After five years with the company, Dowding became Executive Vice President with strategic responsibility for Skanska UK’s buildings and building services businesses. In May 2023, she succeeded Gregor Craig as president and CEO of Skanska UK.
She now sits on the industry-level Construction Productivity Taskforce and is a former chair of the National Association of Women in Construction. She is also the executive sponsor of Skanska UK’s Womxn’s and Pride employee networks.
“It’s about listening and understanding that people are different from one another, as well as recognising that we can benefit from other perspectives. At Skanska, we want people to feel able to bring their whole selves to work,” she said in February 2023.
Skanska's commitment to Net Zero
Skanska continues to demonstrate that it has a keen ambition to work towards a net zero carbon future. The company set a target in 2019 to cut carbon emissions by aiming to achieve 100% net zero across all operations by 2045. With policies in place like its Electric Vehicle First car fleet, its goals continue to be optimistic and ambitious.
The company was the first major UK contractor to set net zero emissions targets that include its supply chain. Other goals include its aim to use biofuel across all company operations in 2023, as well as all Skanska light commercial vehicles will be zero emissions by 2027.
Skanska held a webinar in March 2023 where Katy Dowding along with Carbon Manager, Conor McCone, discussed company plans and progress for net zero emissions by 2045. This includes how by 2028, the company has pledged that 50% of its concrete will meet ConcreteZero standards, as well as procuring significantly more law carbon steel in the next five years leading up to 2028.
Dowding has spoken on Skanska’s sustainable practices, stating: “We are very much focused on partnering with our customers and supply chain, helping to deliver on the big priorities for our industry, including improved productivity, greater diversity and inclusion, and a net-zero carbon future.”
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